2002 National School Resource Officer Survey
Association of School Resource Officers
The second largest professional industry survey of school-based officers was conducted in July of 2002. The
National Association of School Resource
entered into agreement with
Trump of National School Safety
and Security Services to design and implement the survey, and to
produce the final survey report available below.
This was the first known survey of school-based
police officers on terrorism and school safety related issues.
A total of 658 school resource officers returned the surveys which were
administered and collected while they attended NASRO's annual convention in
Palm Springs in July of 2002. A full report, including the full executive
summary and a detailed section with individual question responses and
graphics, may be downloaded from the link
toward the end of this page.
Key Overall Survey Findings
An overwhelming majority (95%) of school-based police officers feel that
their schools are vulnerable to a terrorist attack and a substantial
percentage of officers (79%) do not feel that schools within their districts
are adequately prepared to respond to a terrorism attack upon their schools.
The majority of School Resource Officers reported that significant gaps
exist in their schools’ security, that their school crisis plans are
inadequate, and that their school crisis plans are either untested or
inadequately tested and exercised.
School-based officers have received limited training and minimal support
from outside agencies (local, state and federal) in preparing for a
terrorist attack upon their schools. The vast majority of SROs also
reported that their in-house school security personnel, school
administrators, teachers, and support staff have received no
terrorism-specific training. Additionally, SROs reported decreasing
opportunities for their overall training, especially since 9/11, with many
limitations attributed to a lack of funding.
Coincidentally, the survey release on October 7th coincided with an October
4th Washington Times story citing U.S. intelligence agency reports
which indicate that Islamic terrorists are targeting American schools from
elementary to university levels for attack.
"The most critical lesson learned from 9/11 is that training and
preparedness saves lives. Our federal and state governments must partner
more closely with local school districts and their school police officers in
order to have truly comprehensive homeland security planning," stressed
Curtis Lavarello, Executive Director of the National Association of School
Resource Officers (NASRO), as he released the survey results.
"While our national education policy is to leave no child behind, the survey
suggests that the vast majority of our nation's schools are indeed being
left behind in homeland security preparedness," said Kenneth Trump, the
school safety consultant who designed the survey and authored its report.
"Schools, like other public institutions, must be armed with awareness and
preparedness, and they do so by planning, preparing, and practicing for
emergency situations," Trump added.
Lavarello and Trump said direct threats to kill American children and to
target terrorist attacks on schools have been attributed to al-Qaeda in
multiple news reports since 9/11, noting that terrorist attacks in the
Middle East have long included attacks on schools and school buses. A
history of such tactics, combined with reported threats, serve as warning to
U.S. leaders that schools must be included in homeland security discussions
which to date have largely focused only on national infrastructure areas
such as transportation, utilities, and financial systems, they said.
Highlight of Specific Survey Findings
95% of school-based
officers described their schools as vulnerable to a terrorist attack. 32%
of those survey respondents described their schools as "very vulnerable"
while an additional 63% characterized their schools as "somewhat
vulnerable." Only 5% felt that their schools were either not vulnerable
or were already prepared for a terrorist attack.
79% of the school officers
stated that their schools are not adequately prepared to respond to a
22% of the surveyed school resource officers described themselves as "very
prepared" as a first-responder to a terrorist attack upon their school. 55%
of the officers reported that they have not received terrorism-specific
training related to their roles as school-based officers.
Officers reported that of
those schools having in-house school security personnel, 82% of these
(non-police) security personnel had not received any terrorism-specific
training. 77% of the respondents also reported that teachers,
administrators, and support staff in their schools have not received
68% of school-based officers
believe that student use of cell phones in school would detract from school
safety in a crisis and another 10% believe they would have neither a
positive or negative influence. 81% of school resource officers indicated
that their schools continue to not allow students to use cell phones in
55% of the
respondents felt that their schools' crisis plans were not adequate. 52% of
the school resource officers reported that these crisis plans have never
been tested and exercised, and in those schools where plans have been
tested, the amount and/or type of testing has not been adequate, according
to 62% of the respondents.
55% of school resource
officers said that their schools do not have mail handling procedures for
dealing with anthrax scares and other suspicious packages.
96% of the surveyed school
officers described gaining access to their outside schools grounds during
school hours as either very easy (74%) or somewhat easy (22%). 83% of the
officers described gaining access to inside their school as very easy (37%)
or somewhat easy (46%).
Almost 40% said their
schools have not had a formal professional security assessment conducted in
the past five years.
66% of the school-based
officers were not able to attend training even though they had a
demonstrated need and 75% of the officers indicated that they have not been
able to attend needed training due to a lack of funding. Almost one-third
reported that their opportunity to attend specialized training has decreased
74% of school officers
reported that their schools do not educate parents, and communicate
effectively with parents, on school safety, security, and crisis planning
89% of school-based officers
believe that crimes occurring on school campuses nationwide are
underreported to the police, while 91% believe that the presence of a police
officer on campus improves the accuracy of school crime reporting.